Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Flappin Door

When we take our trips in Hapy, we always note something that needs to get fixed. Sometimes, we write those things down and eventually we get around to fixing them. Today, I touch on two little things that I fixed after we got back from Chinook Fest. I knew the rains were coming, and I wanted the cover on the bus before they arrived. That left me a couple of sunny hours, so I got after these two items.

Fuel Flap
Every time I fill up, I am reminded that when I prepped the bus for paint a few years ago, I pulled the little rubber bits out. Those little bits prevent the fuel filler flap from banging against the side of the bus when you close it. They also prevent the inevitable rattle from steel-on-steel, aggravated by a shaky diesel engine at idle. I can't really hear it over all the other things that rattle, but I was at Ace Hardware anyway, getting a random assortment of fasteners for the MGB and some other home stuff. The Ace in the Pearl District has one of the better spreads of random little things. Maybe they felt the competition from Winks back when they were on the west side.

Regardless, I found a couple of these little ribber bits intended for a US domestic car. For the $2 price, it was worth the risk. This is all the more true when I was unable to locate the "real" part on my usual websites. With a small slotted screw-driver, I pinched the rubber and slid it into the little hole. It took all of 5 minutes. I find it really funny how many of the little issues can be solved that quickly.

Driver Door Latch
When I bought this bus all those years ago, the door seals were shot. I bought replacements, and thought I was getting the "good" ones, based on what I had learned from the bus owners Yahoo email list. Either I bought the wrong ones or installed them incorrectly or both. Either way, the doors needed more effort to close than they should have. Fast forward to when I did the repaint, and I replaced the seals with the actually "good" ones, that are a little smaller than the not-as-good ones. The door seals much better, but years of banging the door shut had done it's damage.

The door became less and less responsive. First, if I locked the door with the key and then fiddled with the opening latch on the outside, it simply wouldn't open with the outside latch for a while. This lasted for a couple of years, but on our last trip, the door wouldn't open from the outside at all. From the inside, it would open, but it wouldn't stay latched consistently. Sometimes it would latch with a very calm closing and other times I had to slam it. Once, it popped open on me while driving. So, when we got home, I was driven to replace the latch. So, I contacted my friend Ken at TheBusCo, of course. He said he could sell me one, but I would probably get just as far simply cleaning and fixing mine, He was right. Thanks Ken! The procedure I followed is below.

Door Mechanism Remove
Open the door, raise the window all the way up.
Remove the door pull, window crank and finger guard around the inner door latch with a Phillips screwdriver.
Pull off the inner door skin and peel back the vapor barrier exposing the rear.
With a 10mm socket, remove the bolt holding the bottom of the rear window channel. You can get to it through the rectangular vent hole.
Remove the inner latch with the 10mm socket, and detach the metal door activator bar thing that runs back to the mechanism.
With a long flathead screwdriver, pull the activator bar out of the door mechanism.
Grab an Allen wrench and remove the outer door handle. My Allen's aren't size-marked, but it is a common wrench you'll find in your standard small set.
Rotate the door latch so that the "C" points down.
With a thick Phillips screwdriver, remove the 2 bolts that points rearward and the one that points inward which hold the latch mechanism to the door.
The latch mechanism should now be free to remove. Push the latch into the door and wiggle it downward. I had to press the window channel towards the outside to get the latch free.

Wait, What?
Once free, I noticed how filthy the latch was. I shot it with brake cleaner, worked the mechanism a few times and repeated until the latch worked without hesitation. Once it dried, I shot the pivot points with a WD-40 product to keep them lubricated. Everything worked great, but one bit of metal was bouncing around. Then, I noticed that the return spring for the outer latch was broken. This could be why the door wouldn't latch: the mechanism wouldn't close all the way. The right way to fix this would be to find the right spring and fit it into the mechanism like the original. Since it took me about 10 minutes to get the mechanism out, and I didn't have the spring, nor the time to go hunting through a hardware store to find one, I pulled a cursed PO move and went rogue. I grabbed a rubber band instead. Yeah, that's right. A rubber band. My thinking is that the rubber band could last a few years or it could last until next summer. Either way, I'll look for the spring, like I looked for the rubber bits for the fuel flap, and I'll do it right when I find it.

The reinstall is faster than the removal. Return the door latch so that the "C" points down and slide it up and into place. Thread the Phillips-head bolts in and attach the activation bar to the mechanism. Tighten the bolts enough for you to test the activation bar. Test that the latch springs open when the bar is pulled towards the front. Good? Awesome. Continuing, tighten those Phillips-head bolts, then re-attach the outer door handle. Hook the inner latch handle to the activation bar. Then, grab the 10mm socket, attach the inner handle and re-attach the window channel. The hard part is done. I tested the mechanism by rotating the latch, and working the different handles. Once I was satisfied, I lightly closed the door and it latched. Hazah! With a light tug on the outer handle, the door opened. Perfect!
Re-situate the vapor barrier and then fit the inner door skin. Re-attach the window crank, the finger guard and door pull with your Phillips screwdriver, and you're done!

That's it for today. I'll post back when the rubber band breaks, or when I replace it with a spring. Whichever comes first. Thanks, as always, for following along.

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